Author - Scott Rothschild

If childhood poverty was a school district

A recent media release and infographic from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth noted that if the estimated 370,000 Kansas living in poverty were all in one city, it would be second largest in Kansas, falling between Wichita (389,965) and Overland Park (186,515). KASB decided to take a similar look at school-aged poverty. With an estimated 78,000 Kansas children from age 5 to 17 living in poverty, those students would be largest school district in Kansas, easily exceeding the approximately 50,000 students in Wichita and about equal to the next three districts combined: Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley, combined. The...

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Students studied nation’s power grid in project supported by last year’s Westar STEM grant

Students at Kansas City USD 500’s Schlagle High School studied the nation’s electric power grid during a project that was selected last year for a Westar STEM Innovation Curriculum grant. The students built a portable working model of the U.S. power grid system that can be used by other classes. The grid included working outlets, demonstrated energy sources and allowed students to learn about monitoring consumption and efficiency. You can see pictures of the end-of-year activity and learn more about this year’s application process for Westar Energy STEM Innovative Curriculum grants at https://kasb.org/about-us/awards-and-grants/westar-stem-highlights/ The deadline for submissions is Monday.

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Education department launches new postsecondary completion reports

A new reporting system made public this month will show the percentage of each high school class that both graduates on time and completes an industry recognized certification or a postsecondary degree or has been enrolled in postsecondary program in the first two years following higher school graduation. The system is part of the Kansas State Board of Education's Kansans Can Vision and will help measure two of the five Kansans Can outcomes: increasing high school graduation rates and increasing the percentage of Kansans with postsecondary education, including both technical certificates and academic degrees. The system will likely draw increasing attention...

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State Board says it was not involved in Legislature’s school finance calculation

The Kansas State Board of Education today said state attorneys were incorrect to imply the board helped develop the Legislature's calculation of the "reasonable cost" of meeting state education standards. In oral arguments before the Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday, attorneys for the State of Kansas explained the method the Legislature used to calculate a state foundation funding amount per pupil, which involved identifying schools that seem to be "overperforming" expectations. The information was presented by former Senate Vice President Jeff King, who was hired by the Legislature as counsel on school finance and approved by Attorney General Derrick Schmidt...

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Students learn about coal, nuclear, wind and sun power in program supported by last year’s Westar STEM grant

Students at Blue Valley-Randolph USD 384 learned about four major sources of energy as part of a project that was selected last year for a Westar STEM Innovation Curriculum grant. Under the guidance of Blue Valley-Randolph High School science teacher Ruth Hutson, students studied coal, nuclear, wind and solar power, heard from guest speakers from each of the four related industries and designed a circuit board and miniature house to demonstrate how electricity travels from power plant to a home. The students also explored nuclear reaction, designed and tested a wind turbine and tracked the sun’s path to determine the optimum...

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House committee takes up federal education funding

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday to debate FY18 appropriations for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments. The measure cuts education funding by $2.4 billion, with $2 billion of that reflected in cuts to Title II, which Kansas and other states use to train and prepare teachers. IDEA (special education) grants to states are increased by $200 million over FY 2017; Title I, CTE state grants and ESEA state assessment grants are funded roughly the same as FY 2017. The appropriations bill does NOT include a $1 billion Trump Administration proposal to...

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KASB VIDEO: Analysis of school finance oral arguments

KASB’s Mark Tallman, associate executive director of advocacy and communications, and Donna Whiteman, assistant executive director of legal services, have provided analysis of Tuesday’s oral arguments before the Kansas Supreme Court in the long running school finance lawsuit. The KASB review can be found on KASB’s Facebook page and at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmy6FhKrzfo&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmy6FhKrzfo&feature=youtu.be The KASB legal staff have also provided a written summary. It is available here.  

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Sides in school finance case argue before Kansas Supreme Court

Kansas Supreme Court justices on Tuesday aggressively questioned attorneys for the state who were defending the new school finance law during oral arguments in the long-running lawsuit. The court, which will determine whether to allow Senate Bill 19 to proceed, took the case under advisement. No timeframe has been given on when a decision will be made. Last month, the Legislature approved SB19, which increased school funding by nearly $200 million this school year and an additional $100 million next. The state has called these increases significant and a good-faith effort in achieving constitutionally adequate funding, while plaintiffs school districts say the...

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KASB releases guidance on changes to executive session law

The 2017 Kansas Legislature made some changes to the Kansas Open Meetings Act in H.B. 2301 affecting the procedures school boards need to use when they recess into executive session. KASB legal staff has reviewed the new law in consultation with League of Kansas Municipalities and prepared a one-page chart to assist boards in making appropriate motions for executive session. As of July 1, 2017, K.S.A. 75-4319 requires the following: “Any motion to recess for a closed or executive meeting shall include: (l) A statement describing the subjects to be discussed during the closed or executive meeting; (2) the justification listed...

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Moran opposes latest Obamacare repeal and Medicaid cuts

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran said he would oppose the latest Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and impose cuts in federal medical assistance, another blow to an effort that has repeatedly looked dead but continues to return. Moran's opposition helped derail an earlier Senate Republican plan. It is unclear how Congressional Republican leaders and the administration of President Trump will proceed. Among the options: a straight repeal of the ACA, called "Obamacare," without replacement, or attempting to work with Democrats to make changes in the troubled parts of the federal health care law. Although the focus of...

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